Okla. warden's wife convicted of aiding escapee
MANGUM, Okla. (AP) - September 21, 2011 (WPVI) -- The wife of a former Oklahoma prison warden who disappeared with a convicted murderer only to be found living with him in Texas nearly 11 years later was found guilty Wednesday of helping him escape.
A Green County jury determined that 49-year-old Bobbi Parker helped convicted killer Randolph Franklin Dial escape from the Oklahoma State Reformatory in 1994. Parker insisted that Dial kidnapped her and kept her from reaching out for help for more than a decade by threatening to harm her daughters. The two were found living together in Texas in 2005.
The jury recommended one year in prison. Parker could have faced up to 10 years in prison.
Bobbi Parker showed no reaction as the jury ready the verdict shortly after noon. Randy Parker bowed his head and was comforted by family members.
After months of testimony from more than 80 witnesses and reviewing more than 800 pieces of evidence, the Greer County jury deliberated for less than three full days before reaching its verdict.
Prosecutors contended that Parker was in love with Dial and helped him escape from the Oklahoma State Reformatory, where her husband was a deputy warden, so that they could start a new life. They said she and Dial were living happily together when police found them in Texas in 2005.
Dial died in 2007, but until his death he backed Bobbi Parker's version of events: that he drugged and kidnapped her, then kept her from calling police or her family by threatening to harm her family.
Parker and Dial disappeared Aug. 30, 1994, and were missing for nearly 11 years when a tip to a television show that highlights years-old cases led offices to Campti, Texas, a small community near the Toledo Bend Reservoir along the Louisiana border. Dial was arrested April 4, 2005, and Parker was found nearby, working on a chicken ranch.
Until his escape, Dial helped Parker run the prison's pottery program from her garage. Prosecutors said the pair fell in love, and witnesses at her trial said the two had behaved inappropriately at the home on prison grounds she shared with her husband and their young daughters.
Parker pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of assisting a prisoner to escape after being accused the day before the statute of limitations expired. Her lawyers argued unsuccessfully that the passage of time and the death of several witnesses, including Dial, prevented Parker from receiving a fair trial.
Following his capture in 2005, Dial maintained he abducted Parker and kept her as a hostage throughout his freedom - even while she nursed him back to health after a heart attack. Defense attorney Garvin Isaacs called Dial a manipulative sociopath who threatened his alleged mob connections would harm Parker's family if she ran away or made a plea for help.
Dial died in prison June 13, 2007, at age 62. He was serving a life sentence for the 1981 murder of Broken Arrow karate instructor Kelly Dean Hogan and also had pleaded guilty to the 1994 escape. He was never charged with kidnapping.
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